Truffles are known in many Arab countries (Yasser El-Zayyat/AFP)
The “truffles” are known as “truffles” in relation to their scientific name, truffles, and this name is popular with scholars and researchers in Morocco, Libya, Tunisia and Algeria. It is known in many Arab countries, and the Syrians call it ” Al-Kamaya”, and in Iraq it is called “Al-Jummah”. It is called “Faq’a” in the Arab Gulf countries.
It is also popularly called in Morocco “earth eggs”, comparing it to eggs due to its great nutritional and health value, while the black type is called “black diamond”, and this type is rare, and its scarcity leads to a consequent increase in its price.
The truffle is a wild, spherical, fleshy, flaccid mushroom that resembles a medium potato in shape, but differs completely in taste and nutritional and commercial value, it grows under the surface of the soil in desert and semi-desert regions without cultivation. It belongs to the Plantia family of plants, has neither leaves nor roots, is considered among the most expensive types of edible mushrooms, while the type and quality vary according to the nature and characteristics of the soil, as well as the abundance of rain.
The place of the truffles is known for the fissures in the ground that cover it, and for the plants that grow around it, and it is dug by hand in its surroundings, or with the help of trained dogs, then the red type, while the “Black truffles” are mainly for export due to their scarcity.
Truffle-digging represents a temporary job opportunity for hundreds of Moroccans during its annual season, which falls between late winter and early spring.
Moroccan peasant woman Rokaya al-Hashimi (55) says she has been digging truffles in a forest on the outskirts of the city of El Jadida for more than 10 years and selling what she finds at a weekly market about 150 kilometers from the city of Casablanca, and confirms that “excavation is not without difficulties and risks, We could be exposed to scorpion stings, or sunstroke, in addition to the scarcity of the harvest in recent years due to the lack of rainfall, as well as speculation on the market and the continuous exploitation to which finders are subjected by wholesalers and brokers, as we are usually the weakest link in the production chain and do not benefit from them There are few returns, as the price of a kilogram in Morocco varies between 10 and 20 dollars, and this does not equal the great effort spent, and the official authorities should take care of this material and value it to put an end to the manipulations of brokers and speculators.
The land of Morocco is rich in rainy luxury, and is famous for it in several regions, including Kenitra (north of the capital Rabat), Bouarfa and Figuig (east), Oualidia and Safi on the coastal strip, and it is also widespread in different regions of the world, but it is prevalent in the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, such as the Maghreb countries, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal, as well as South Africa and the United States of America.
Morocco is the fifth largest producer of black truffles in the world, orthopedic surgeon Abdel Aziz al-Qabaqibi told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, explaining that years ago he transferred the experience of growing French black truffles to Morocco, and has founded his first farm in 2000, and later established a second farm.
Al-Qabaqibi adds: “What prompted me to undertake the experiment is that black truffles are rare, and are known above all in France, Spain and Italy, and the three countries are the first in the world for production. I wrote a book on the cultivation of black truffles in Morocco, entitled (Truffles Among France and Morocco), in which I reviewed the types of truffles found in Morocco, and the contexts of transferring the experience of growing French black truffles and developing them so that the Kingdom becomes one of the most important exporting countries of this type of mushroom.
Moroccans rarely benefit from truffles in their tables or kitchens despite the high nutritional value, while large quantities of it are directed for export abroad after a tiring journey that begins with digging and harvesting before selling. Trader Abdel Fattah Al-Wajdi says: “Large quantities of the truffle harvest are shipped to canning and export factories in Fez, Meknes and elsewhere, while other quantities are destined for restaurants and luxury hotels that cater to customer requests for one special gentile, the way Moroccan Jews like it.”
“Traffas” is characterized by a great nutritional value, and is used as a substitute for meat in many areas of its existence, as it is rich in proteins, amino acids, vitamins and mineral salts, as well as being a good source of linoleic acid, which is one of the essential fatty acids, as well as containing amounts of fat and carbohydrates, according to Several studies have been conducted on him, and he is famous for his praise: “It is the daughter of justice and justice that contains it , dipped in fat and the bones of what is in it.”
According to experts and researchers, it helps to get rid of the harmful levels of cholesterol in the body, it also works to strengthen the immune system, and its intake helps maintain public health and cure problems related to infections, as well as its effectiveness in curing and preventing eye diseases, and it was mentioned in the hadith of the Prophet: “Truffles are from manna, and their water is a cure for the eyes.”
Truffle food books are described as earthy fruits, and that they are cold and moist, and are eaten raw and cooked, and contain good food for the body.
Mushrooms are present in various meals according to people’s customs, and are usually served in the most luxurious European restaurants at high prices. Chocolate is also made from them with the addition of cream and powdered milk, and is used in the preparation of many sweets in different countries.
Truffles are prepared after having cleaned them well from dirt, to be cooked with “meat tajine” or eggs, or added to various soups to give them a characteristic flavour, some Moroccans add them to “couscous” or rice, and when Passover, “truffle with meat” is one of the most famous seasonal dishes.
Truffles have been known since ancient times, but they are surrounded by a halo of myths and legends, some of which are still widespread today, moreover, they received more attention from the Bedouins than from urban residents. The Egyptians used to bring truffles to their royal halls, as it has been demonstrated by the people of They seem to use it as a food and as a cure for eye diseases.
It was mentioned by the Greek philosopher Theophostos, who lived around the year 300 BC, who defined it as a type of vegetable, and believed that it appeared with the autumn rains if accompanied by thunderstorms, as it was known since ancient times in the United States by the Indians of America, according to the two authors, Ahmed, Ashour Ahmed and Fahim Abdel Karim bin Khayal, in their book “Truffles”.
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